First case of monkeypox confirmed in KFL&A region

Monkeypox virus. Image via United Nations Science Photo Library.

Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health announced that yesterday, Wednesday, Jul. 13, 2022, they received the first lab-confirmed case of monkeypox in our region.

In a media release, KFL&A Public Health said that contact tracing efforts are complete and case management continues for this individual, and the risk to the general public at this time is low.

“Monkeypox virus has been circulating in the province for a few months now and we did expect it would arrive in the KFL&A region. There is no increased risk of monkeypox to KFL&A residents deriving from this case,” said Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health for KFL&A Public Health. “In general, monkeypox does not spread easily between people. KFLA residents should not be concerned going about their everyday activities in the community. We recommend that individuals are aware of symptoms and seek immediate medical attention if symptoms present.”

Monkeypox is a viral disease that spreads through close contact with an infected individual and is usually found to be endemic in Central and Western Africa, according to the release. Public Health said that while anyone can get monkeypox, in Ontario, the most commonly reported risk factors for developing the illness include engaging in sexual or intimate contact with new or more than one partner. The virus is spread by person-to-person contact with body fluids, such as fluids from monkeypox lesions, or from dried-up scabs, contaminated clothing or bedding, or through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact.

While monkeypox is in the same family as smallpox, monkeypox presents with much milder symptoms and is less contagious, according to the release. Symptoms can present within five to 21 days of exposure to someone who has the virus.

Symptoms can include:

  • Rash or blister in mouth and around genital areas
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever and chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • Exhaustion

“Residents who experience symptoms should contact their health care provider as soon as possible,” Public Health stated. “Symptoms are often manageable, and individuals typically recover within two to four weeks. Most people recover on their own without treatment. Close contacts of people suspected or confirmed to have a monkeypox infection are advised to self-monitor for symptoms for 21 days after their last exposure. If symptoms develop, they should self-isolate, seek care and get tested. Ministry of Health currently makes vaccines available to high-risk groups in communities where transmission is occurring (pre-exposure prophylaxis). People who have had close contact with confirmed cases will be contacted by public health to arrange for post-exposure vaccination.”

According to the release, KFL&A Public Health has communicated with local physicians and provided information on symptoms, laboratory testing and diagnosis, infection control precautions, treatment, and reporting requirements for monkeypox.

KFL&A Public Health is holding a media conference later today where they are expected to share more information on this matter.

For information about monkeypox, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website or KFL&A Public Health’s website.

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